2015 Didier Dagueneau “Silex” Pouilly-Fume , Loire Valley, France



Silex comes from Dagueneau’s low-yielding, old-vine parcels with the highest percentage of silex (flint) content. It is fermented in premium custom barrels in a range of sizes, designed and constructed specifically for this cuvée. Oak, however, never plays a starring role in Silex: Dagueneau’s farming is so impeccable that the perfectly healthy, beautifully ripe fruit remains front and center at all times. The barrel fermentation and lengthy lees contact simply serve to elevate the sublime texture of this powerful, mineral-driven wine. If you’ve never experienced Silex, brace yourself for a wine of uncommon purity and focus. The fruit here is so exotically intense with a chiseled, energetic personality that exudes every ounce of Pouilly-Fumé’s flint. 


Didier Dagueneau was a fourth generation winemaker in the village of St Andelain in Pouilly-Fumé. As someone who always liked to push the limits, Didier left his home town at a young age to race motorcycle side cars on the international circuit between 1978 and 1982. He later added dog-sled racing to his list of passions, and here too, competed internationally for many years during the winter months. Dagueneau returned to the his native village in 1982 and in typical Didier fashion, elected to set up his own estate in Pouilly-Fumé rather than join the family fold. Inspired by the great wines of Burgundy and other top regions (his mentors were Edmond Vatan and Henri Jayer) and emboldened by the wisdom and traditions of his grandfather, Louis Dagueneau, he set about to create a Pouilly-Fumé of extraordinary dimension and terroir focus exploiting the top vineyard sites around St. Andelain. He acquired his first parcel, 1.2 hectares of En Chailloux, and began to vinify under his own label in the 1982 vintage. In 1985, he added the now infamous Silex, and in 1988, Pur Sang.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Didier was always experimenting with his techniques with the goal of raising the bar on quality. Whether it was organic viticulture, sans-souffre winemaking, own-rooted vineyards, natural fermentations, or experimental cigar-shaped barrels, his trajectory brought him to the excesses of these “fashions” and practices, but always with an open mind to the both the benefits and pitfalls of these ideas. In the end, he was always his own toughest critic, and forged his own philosophies which were more often than not grounded in the wisdom of tradition.

Like any great winemaker, Didier knew that the path to transcendence began with fastidious and painstaking work in the vineyards. To this day, the vineyards at the estate are meticulously tended by a crew equal to about 1 person per hectare, a ratio found at a top Burgundy estate perhaps, but basically never in the Loire Valley. Yields are kept extremely low, usually to 50-75% of their neighbors. The soils are worked by plow, and sometimes horse as well, to encourage roots to seek the depths of their underlying terroirs. And when vines need to be replanted, there is extreme care to select only low-vigor rootstock and the best massale Selection cuttings to graft.